Stone Elephant at Shisanling (Ming Tombs)

 Stone elephant at Shisanling (Ming Tombs)

Shisanling means "Thirteen Mausoleums." These were tombs for the emperors of the Ming Dynasty. The monarchs were from the Zhu Family, who ruled China from the 14th to the 17th century. The emperors burial places were north of Beijing, at the foot of the hills that shielded the capital city from the northern wild and invaders. It was land of good "fengshui." Even today northern Beijing is believed to be better than the southern part of the city in terms of environment.

Shen Dao, "Spirit Way," is a long path that leads to the Ming tombs. It is guarded by numerous sculptured stone animals - lions, horses, elephants, etc, as well as generals and ministers.